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1
The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TWP Chapter 15
« on: Today at 06:00:52 pm »
Kellhus finds Cnaiur raving in the sea.  He is mistaken for his father.  He cannot kill him
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What is this, Father?  Pity?
He gazed at the abject Scylvendi warrior.  From what darkness had this passion come?

Cnaiur screams at him to 'kill me', but he doesn't do it.  There are 'other uses'.  Who will murder you, Cnaiur?

Kellhus also doesn't (can't?/ won't?) kill
(click to show/hide)
  An emotional/ irrational side, at odds with his Dunyain training?

2
The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TWP Chapter 9
« on: Today at 05:54:13 pm »
Kellhus describes the difference between seeing and witnessing.
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"...And then we suffer, for we feel the ache for the blessed, the sting of the cursed.  We no longer see, we witness" ...
..."When we witness, we testify, and when we testify we make ourselves responsible for what we see.  And that - that - is what it means to belong"...
"...This world owns you.  You belong, whether you want to or not.  Why do we suffer?  Why do the wretched take their own lives?  Because the world, no matter how cursed, owns us.  Because we belong.

TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE.  Are people supposed to witness and testify the No-God?

3
The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TWP Chapter 15
« on: Today at 03:31:35 pm »
Cnaiur realises the Fanim are attacking the camp - and Serwe.

Kellhus kills all three Nansur assassins without breaking sweat.  Martemus is bewildered by it all.
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Illuminated by the morning sun.  A striding vision.  A walking aspect...
Something too terrible.  Too bright.

Kellhus has to defend the Swazond Standard.  He tells Martmenus that 'war is conviction'.  This is a clear contrast with Conphas' statement in book 1 that war is intellect.  It also harks back to Cnaiur's lessons from the previous chapter, and also reflects the conflict between faith and reason that is one of the key themes of the series.

The battle has become split up in 'dozens of lesser ones'.  It appears the Inrithi will be defeated.

Cnaiur is back in the camp.  He can hear thousands of screams, and see the plumes of many fires.  He rescues a woman and baby from the Kianene.

Kellhus is dancing around the path of arrows.

Cnaiur gives the women a knife and tells her to run, then attacks the enemy.
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"who?", he roared in his sacred tongue.
He hacked at the riderless horses barring him from his foe.  One went down thrashing.  Another screamed and bucked into the knotted heathen ranks.
"I am Cnaiur urs Skiotha", he bellowed, "most violent of all men!"
His heaving black stepped forward.
"I bear you fathers and your brothers upon my arms!"
Heathen eyes flashed white from the shadows of their silvered helms.  Several cried out.
"Who", Cnaiur roared, so fiercely all his skin seemed throat, "will murder me?"

Then he feels something and grabs his Chorae.

Flashback to Ishual.  Five year old Kellhus and others of his age have been taken outside by Pragma Uan.
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"What do you see?" the old man finally asked, looking to the canopy above them.
There were many eager answers.  Leaves.  Branches.  Sun.
But Kellhus saw more.  He noticed the dead limbs, the scrum of competing branch and twig.  He saw slender trees, mere striplings, ailing in the shadow of giants.
"Conflict", he said.
"And how is that, young Kellhus?"
Terror and exultation - the passions of a child.  "The tr-trees, Pragma", he stammered.  "They war for... for space.
"Indeed", Pragma Uan replied, his manner devoid of anything save confirmation.  "And this, children, is what I shall teach you.  How to be a tree.  How to war for space..."
"But trees don't move", another said.
"They move", the Pragma replied, "but they are slow.  A tree's heart beats but once every spring, so it must war in all directions at once.  It must branch and branch until it obscures the sky.  But you you hearts beat many, many times, you need only war in one direction at at time.  This is how men seize space".

They try to hit the Pragma, but he pokes them all back with a stick.  Back in the present, Kellhus pokes away the Khirgwi with his sword.
It seems likes Kellhus is precocious even amongst the Dunyain.  The answer he gives to the Pragma seems well beyond the capacity of any five-year old to provide.  I suspect not all the kids will go on to become Dunyain, but other 'uses' will be found for them.

The Scarlet Spires have entered the battle.  Cnaiur's woman and baby have been burnt to a crisp.  He finds Proyas' pavillion, and...
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Then he saw her, kneeling naked before a towering shadow.  One eye swelled shut, blood pulsing from her scalp and nose, sheeting her neck and breasts.
What?
Without thinking, Cnaiur slipped into the gloom of the pavillion.  The air reeked of foul rutting.  The Dunyain whirled, as naked as Serwe, a bloody hand clamped about his engorged member.
"The Scylvendi", Kellhus drawled, his eyes blazing with lurid rapture.  "I didn't smell you".
Cnaiur struck at his heart.  Somehow the bloody hand flickered up, grazed his wrist.  The knife dug deep just below the Dunyain's collarbone.
Kellhus staggered back, raised his face to the bellied canvas, and screamed what seemed a hundred screams, a hundred voices bound to one inhuman throat. And Cnaiur saw his face open, as though the joints of his mouth were legion and ran from his scalp to his neck.  Through steepled features, he saw lidless eyes, gums without lips...
The thing struck him, and he fells to one knee.  He yanked his broadsword clear.
But it had vanished through the flap, leaping like some kind of beast.

The Ainoni somehow manage to hold off the Fanim attacks.
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... And each time the Fanim reeled back, astounded by these defeated men who refused to be defeated.
- war is conviction.

Everywhere, the Inrithi manage to rally, and the Fanim host disintegrates.

Cnaiur tries to takes Serwe, but Kellhus has told her...
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..."Why you beat me.  Why your thoughts never stray far from me, but return, always return to me in fury.  He's told me everything!.
Something trembled through him.  He raised his fist but his fingers would not clench.
"What has he said?"
"That I'm nothing but a sign, a token.  That you strike not me, but yourself!"
"I will strangle you! I will snap your neck like a cat's!  I will beat blood from your womb!"
"Then do it!" she shrieked.  "Do it, and be done with it!"
"You are my prize!  My prize!  To do with as I please!"
"No! No! I'm not your prize! I'm your shame!  He told me this!" "Shame?  What shame?  What has he said?"
"That you beat me for surrendering as you surrendered!  For fucking him the way you fucked his father!"
She lay still on the ground, legs askew.  So beautiful.  Even beaten and broken.  How could anything human be so beautiful?
"What has he said?" he asked blankly.

She tries to kill herself, but he takes the knife away and leaves.

Martemus is back with Conphas, and tells him Kellhus isn't human.

Skauras burns his correspondence with the Nansur, and awaits the Inrithi that are coming for him.

Kellhus is back with Serwe.  He tells her that a demon had been there before, and that he knew she wouldn't let Cnaiur take her.
He puts her into a trance called the Whelming, which seems to be a form of hypnosis.  He finds out what happened with the skin-spy and then wipes it from her memory.

He ruminates on Cnaiur.  Where the rest of the worldborn do things because they do them, without asking why this is not the case with Cnaiur.

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...Where others adhered out of ignorance of the alternatives, he was continually forced to choose, and more importantly, to affirm one thought from the infinite field of possible thoughts, one act from the infinite field of possible acts. Why upbraid a wide for weeping?  Why not strike her instead?  Why not laugh, ignore, or console?  Why not weep with her?  What made one response more true than another?  Was it ones's blood.  Was it another's words of reason?  Was it one's God?
Or was it, as Moenghus had claimed, one's goal?
Encircled by his people, born of them and destined to die among them, Cnaiur had chosen his blood.  For thirty years he tried to beat his thoughts and passions down the narrow paths of the Utemot.  But despite his brutal persistence, despite his native gifts, his fellow tribesman could always smell a wrongness about him.  In the intercourse between men every move was constrained by other's expectations; it was a kind of dance, and as such, it brooked no hesitation.  The Utemot glimpsed his flickering doubts.  They understood that he tried, and they knew that whoever tried to be of the People couldn't be of the People.
So they punished him with whispers and guarded eyes - for more than a hundred seasons...
Thirty years of shame and denial.  Thirty years of torment and terror.  A lifetime of cannibal hatred... In the end, Cnaiur had cut a trail of his own making, a solitary track of madness and murder.
He had made blood his cleansing waters.  If war was worship, the Cnaiur urs Skiotha would be the most pious of the Scylvendi - not simply of the People, but the greatest among them as well.  He told himself his arms were his glory.  He was Cnaiur urs Skiotha, the most violent of all men.
And so he continued telling himself, even though his every swazond marked not his honour, but the death of Anasurimbor Moenghus.  For what was madness, if not a kind of overpowering impatience, a need to seize at once what the world denied?  Moenghus not only had to die, he had to die now - whether he was Moenghus or not.
In his fury, Cnaiur had made all the world his surrogate.  And he avenged himself upon it.
Despite the accuracy of this analysis, it availed Kellhus little in his attempts to possess the Utemot Chieftain.  Always the man's knowledge of the Dunyain barred his passage.  For a time, Kellhus even considered the possibility that Cnaiur would never succumb.
Then they found Serwe - a surrogate of a different kind.
From the very beginning, the Scylvendi had made her his track, his proof that he followed the ways of the People.  Serwe was the erasure of Moenghus, whose presence Kellhus' resemblance so recalled.  She was the incantation that would undo Moenghus' curse.  And Cnaiur fell in love, not with her, but with the idea of loving her.  Because if he loved her, he couldn't love Anasurimbor Moenghus...
Or his son.
What followed had been almost elementary.
Kellhus began seducing Serwe, knowing that he showed the barbarian his own seduction at the hands of Moenghus some thirty years previous.  Soon, she became both the erasure and the repetition of Cnaiur's heartbreaking hate.  The plainsman began beating her, not simply to prove his Scylvendi contempt for women, but to better beat himself.  He punished her for repeating his sins, even though he at once loved her and despised love as weakness...
And so as Kellhus intended, contradiction piled upon contradiction. World-born men, he'd discovered, possessed a peculiar vulnerability to contradictions, particularly those that provoked conflicting passions.  Nothing, it seemed, so anchored their hearts.  Nothing so obsessed.
Once Cnaiur had utterly succumbed to the girl, Kellhus simply took her away, knowing the man would do anything for her return, and that he would do so without even understanding why.
And now the usefulness of Cnaiur urs Skiotha was at and end.

Kellhus finds Cnaiur raving in the sea.  He is mistaken for his father.  He cannot kill him
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What is this, Father?  Pity?
He gazed at the abject Scylvendi warrior.  From what darkness had this passion come?

Cnaiur screams at him to 'kill me', but he doesn't do it.  There are 'other uses'.  Who will murder you, Cnaiur?

The skin-spy 'Sarcellus', meets with the Synthese.  It is revealed as the 'other' Kellhus.  The Consult have learned Kellhus is Dunyain, not Cishaurim.  There is no order called Dunyain in Atrithau, so he is not from there.  It is unlikely the Nonmen have trained him.  Perhaps the Dunyain are a stubborn ember of ancient Kuniuri.  He is however a curiosity - the Cishaurim are the foe.
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"...Imagine a world where no womb quickens, where no soul hopes!"

4
The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TWP Chapter 14
« on: October 19, 2018, 07:53:18 pm »
The Inrithi are getting ready for battle, and Conphas
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...the Lion of Kiyuth! - would be little more than a subaltern...
No matter, it would be salt for the honey, as the Ainoni were fond of saying.  The bitterness that made vengeance sweet.

Martemus is to be Conphas' representative with Cnaiur.  Kellhus will be there, and so will the Imperial assassins (including a Zeumi Sword Dancer).  But Martemus is the one who will bring Kellhus' head to Conphas.

The Holy War assembles for battle.  They are certain of triumph.  The God walks among them.

Cnaiur assemble his command group on a small hillock.  He has his own banner - the Swazond Standard.

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The air thrummed with the din of innumerable shouts.  The faint peal of faraway battlehorns was overpowered by the strident blare of those more near.  Cnaiur breathed deep, smelled sea, desert, and dank river - nothing of the absurd spectacle before him.  If he closed his eyes and covered his ears, he thought, he could pretend he was alone...
I am of the Land!

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What was this trade he had made?
Never had Cnaiur suffered a night like the night previous.  Why? he'd screamed at the Meneanor.  Why had he agreed to teach the Dunyain war?  For Serwe?  For a bauble found on the Steppe?
For nothing?
He'd traded many things over the past months. Honour for the  promise of vengeance.  Leather for effeminate silks.  His yaksh for a prince's pavillion.  The Utemot in their unwashed hundreds, for the Inrithi in their hundreds of thousands.
Battlemsater... King-ofTribes!
Part of him reeled in drunken exultation at the thought.  Such a host!  From the river to the hills, a distance of almost seven miles, and still the ranks ran deep.  The People could never assemble such a horde, not if they emptied every yaksh, saddled every boy.  And here he, Cnaiur urs Skiotha, breaker-of-horses-and-men, commanded.  Outland princes, earls and palatines, thanes and barons in their thousands, even an Exalt-General answered to him!  Ikurei Conphas, the hated author of Kiyuth!
What would the People think? Would they call this glory?  Or would they spit and curse his name, give him the torments of the aged and infirm?
But wasn't all war, all battle, holy?  Wasn't victory the mark of the righteous?  If he crushed the Fanim, ground them beneath the heel of his boot, what would the People think of his trade then?  Would they finally say, "This man, this many-blooded man, is truly of the land"?
Or would they whisper as they always whispered?  Would they laugh as they always laughed?
"Yours id the name of our shame!"
What if he made a gift of the Inrithi?  What if he delivered them to destruction?  What if rode home with Ikurei Conphas' head in a sack?
"Scylvendi," Moeghus said from his side.
That voice!
Cnaiur looked to Kellhus, blinking.
Skauras! the Dunyain's look shouted.  Skauras is our foe here.

Cnaiur is laid bare in the previous Chapter and this one.  We see all his obsessions and insecurities, and his madness.

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But he had no time.  War had come, and he'd agreed to yield its secrets in exchange for Serwe.  He'd agreed to surrender the last shred of leverage he possessed.  After he would have nothing to secure his vengeance.  Nothing!  After this, there would be no reason for Kellhus to keep him alive.
I'm a threat to him.  The only man who knows his secret...
So what was she, that he'd doom himself for her?  What was she, the he would trade war?
Something is wrong with me... Something.
No!  Nothing!  Nothing!

He's a tragic figure.  Driven insane by a Dunyain, not once, but twice.  And the second time, he knows its happening.

Back at camp, Serwe worries about Kellhus.  If Akka has been harmed, then so can he.  But then 'he' is there.
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"Warring is hungry business, Serwe.  Certain appetites must be attended."

The battle progresses.  Cnaiur explains things to Kellhus.
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Cnaiur snorted.  "This war", he snapped in Scylvendi, "is simply your war made honest.
Kellhus acknowledge nothing.  "Belief... You're saying battle is a disputation of belief... An argument." ...
..."So in battle, " Kellhus said, "conviction makes true".

They discuss the respective merits of the Fanim and Inrithi armies.

'Kellhus' feels different to Serwe.  He is using sex to interrogate her.  He want know why Cnaiur calls him Dunyain.

Real Kellhus notes that Skauras has not deployed his full strength.  The Inrithi are being scattered into small groups.
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A great ache filled Cnaiur's chest.  Only Kellhus' strong grip saved him the humiliation of falling to his knees.
Always the same...

Martemus is disgusted that a Scylvendi commands, but he cannot ignore glory in the field.
But as the Fanim centre collapses, Cnaiur sounds the retreat.  Some call him traitor, but his conviction seems to convince many.
Cnaiur rides off, followed by others, leaving Martemus, the assassins and Kellhus.

Other Kellhus is beating Serwe.  He wants to know what is planned for the Holy War.

The assassins approach Kellhus.
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The Prophet seemed to be ... listening.
No.  Bearing witness.

5
The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TWP Chapter 13
« on: October 17, 2018, 07:34:38 pm »
Esmi is awakened by Kellhus, who tells her in a 'hollow' voice that the Spires have burnt the Library.

Why does Kellhus wake her, and not Serwe?  Suspicious that a man would do this, and all the more reason to think that Kellhus is involved with the whole thing.

Xinemus is trying to get Proyas to do something about Akka.
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Something about Xinemus' expression struck Proyas to the marrow.

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...What was the life of one man - a blasphemer no less - compared with that need?  The God demanded sacrifices...

Xin wants Proyas to make the Spires think he will stop at nothing to get Akka back - even open war.  But he has already threatened them with this.

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..."After all these years, you still don't understand, do you?"
"What's there to understand?" Proyas cried.  "How many times must we have this conversation?  Achamian is Unclean! Unclean!"  A heady sense of conviction seized him, an an incontestable making certain, as though knowing possessed its own fury.  "If blasphemers kill blasphemers, then we're saved oil and wood.
Proyas - you dickhead.

Xinemus resigns.

He is talking with Esmi.  She suggests Proyas might need a woman.  She will stay where she is whilst the Holy War moves on.
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..."What if e comes back and can't find me?"...
...She lingered in the gap where her joy had been...

Xin is going to search for Akka.

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Helplessness.  If women were hope's oldest companions, it was due to helplessness.  Certainly women often exercised dreadful power over a single hearth, but the world between hearths belonged to men.  And it was into this world that Achamian had disappeared: the cold darkness between firepits.
All she could do was wait...
...Waiting.  This was what tradition said a woman should do.  To wait at the hearth's edge.  To peer and peer and yet always be stared down.  To haggle endlessly with nothing.  To think without hope of insight.  To repeat words said and words implied.  To chase hints into incantations, as though by their tumbling precision and the sheer pitch of pain the movements of her soul might seize the world at some deeper level, and force it to yield.
As the days passed, it seemed she'd become a still point in the ponderous wheel of events, the only structure to remain after the floodwaters retreated.  The tents and pavilions fell like shrouds unfurled across the dead.  The vast baggage trains were loaded.  Armoured men on horse chopped to and fro from the horizon, bearing arcane missive, onerous commands.  Great columns were formed up across the pasture, and with shouts and hymns, they passed away.
Like a season.
And Esmenet sat alone in the midst of their absence...
 

She can imagine Akka sitting there.  She thinks about her dead daughter.  She thinks about drowning herself.  But she knows how to wait.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cnaiur knows that the Fanim intend to reclaim the north bank of Shigek.  The Inrithi do not believe him.  They think God is on their side - but so do the Fanim.

Captives from across the river confirm that Skauras is assembling a great host from out of the south.  The Holy War has to cross the river as soon as possible.

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"To think", Proyas confided to him afterward, "that I thought you no more than an effective ruse to employ against the Emperor.  Now you're our general in all but name.  You realise that?"

Cnaiur's nights  - without Serwe - are difficult. 
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He never pitched his tent on the same ground...
.  He thinks of Anissi
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... the first wife of his heart...
and their daughter, Sanathi.  He thinks of Proyas.

On the 'worst' nights, he stabs holes in the round with his knife and then fucks them.  Shades of the Consult 'rutting with their knifes' from an earlier chapter.

On the 'best' nights he rides to the nearest village, where he roars at people to
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"Murder me and it stops!"
.  He takes what 'compensation' he can.
Compensation for what?  This seems to suggest he is raping and/ or killing the villagers.

He finds the best point to cross the river, at the tidal marshes near the fortress of Anwurat.  Conphas agrees with him, which sways the debate.  Cnaiur imagines cutting his throat.

He deduces that Skauras
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...not only liked to trick and deceive, he liked to show, to prove...
For Skauras, the imminent battle would be more than a contest, it would be a demonstration...

He tries to get Proyas to make sure that the Scarlet Spires accompany the host.
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...There must be something you can offer".
The Prince smiled mirthlessly.  "Or someone," he said with uncommon grief.

He crosses the river with Proyas and Kellhus.
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Cnaiur had watched the Dunyain's influence grow.  He'd watched as he gradually bridled all those about Xinemus' fire, working their hearts the way saddle makers worked leather, tanning, gouging, shaping.  He'd watched as he lured more and more Men of the Tusk with the grain of his deceit.  He'd watched him yoke thousands - thousands! with simple words and bottomless looks.  He'd watched him minister to Serwe...
He'd watched until he could bear watching no more.
Cnaiur had always known Kellhus' capabilities, had always known the Holy War would yield to him.  But knowing and witnessing were two different things.  He cared nothing for the Inrithi.  And yet, he found himself fearing for them - fearing, even as he scorned them!  How they fell over themselves, fawning, wheedling, grovelling.  How they degraded themselves, youthful fools and inveterate warriors alike.  Imploring looks and beseeching impressions.  Oh, Kellhus... Oh, Kellhus... Staggering drunks!  Unmanly ingrates!  How easily they surrendered.
And none more so than Serwe.  To watch her succumb, again and again. To see his hand drift deep between Dunyain thighs...
Fickle, treacherous, whorish bitch!  How many times must he strike her?  How many times must he take her?  How many times must he stare, dumbfounded by her beauty?

He recognises himself, and what was done to him by Moenghus.

Proyas asks him what the Scylvendi believe.
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"I believe that your ancestors killed my God.  I believe your race bears the blood-guilt of that crime".
His voice didn't quaver.  His expression didn't break.  But as always, he could hear the infernal chorus.
"So you worship vengeance..."
"I worship vengeance"
"And that's why the Scylvendi call themselves the People of War".
"Yes.  To war is to avenge".
The proper answer.  So why the throng of questions.
"To take back what has been taken," Proyas said, his eyes at once troubled and bright.  "Like our Holy War for Shimeh".
"No", Cnaiur replied.  "To murder the taker".

Caniur is proclaimed Battlemaster.  He thinks that Proyas
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could be my son
.

Kellhus turns up.  If Cnaiur will teach him 'war, he will give him Serwe.
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The sword fell with a clang to Cnaiur's feet.  For an instant, it seemed he gagged on ice.
"Why," he spat contemptuously, "would I want your pregnant whore?
"She's your prize," Kellhus said.  She bears your child."
Why did he long for her so?  She was a vain, shallow waif - nothing more!  Cnaiur had seen the way Kellhus used her, the way he dressed her.  He'd heard the words he bid her speak.  No tool was too small for a Dunyain, no word too plain, no blink too brief.  He'd utilise the chisel of her beauty, the hammer of her peach...  Cnaiur had seen this!
So how could he contemplate...
All I have is war.
The Meneanor crashed and surged across the beaches.  The wind smelled ofbrine.  Cnaiur stared at the Dunyain for what seemed a thousand heartbeat.  Then at lats he nodded even though he knew he relinquished the last remnant of his hold on the abomination.  After this he would have nothing left but the word of a Dunyain...
He would have nothing.
But when he closed his eyes he saw her, felt her soft and supple, crushed beneath his frame.  She was his proof!
Tomorrow, after worship...
He would take what compensation he could

6
The Almanac: PON Edition / ARC: TWP Chapter 17
« on: October 14, 2018, 07:25:43 pm »
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In terror, all men throw up their hands and turn aside their faces.  Remember, Tratta, always preserve the face!  For that is where you are.
- THROSEANIS, TRIAMIS IMPERATOR

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The Poet will yield up his stylus only when the Geometer can explain how Life can at once a point and a line.  How can all time, all creation, come to the now?  Make no mistake: this moment, the instant of this very breath, is the frail thread from which all creation hangs.
that men dare to be thoughtless...
- TERES ANSANSIOUS, THE CITY OF MEN

7
The Almanac: PON Edition / ARC: TWP Chapter 16
« on: October 14, 2018, 07:21:14 pm »
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Men never resemble one another so much as when asleep or dead.
- OPPARITHA, ON THE CARNAL

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The arrogance of the Inrithi waxed bright in the days following Anwurat.  Though the sober-minded demanded they press the attack, the great majority clamoured for respite.  They thought the Fanim doomed just as they thought them doomed after Mengedda.  But while the Men of the Tusk tarried, the Padirajah plotted.  He would make the world his shield.
- DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, THE COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

8
The Almanac: PON Edition / ARC: TWP Chapter 15
« on: October 14, 2018, 07:17:34 pm »
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Where the holy take men for fools, the mad take the world
- PROTATHIS, THE GOAT'S HEART

9
The Almanac: PON Edition / ARC: TWP Chapter 14
« on: October 14, 2018, 07:16:25 pm »
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It is the difference in knowledge that commands respect.  This is why the true test of every student lies in the humiliation of his master
- GOTAGGA, THE PRIMA ARCANATA

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The children here play with bones instead of sticks, and whenever I see them, I cannot but wonder whether the humeri they brandish are faithful or heathen
Heathen, I should think, for the bones seem bent
- ANONYMOUS, LETTER FROM ANWURAT

10
The Almanac: PON Edition / ARC: TWP Chapter 13
« on: October 14, 2018, 07:13:11 pm »
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Men are forever pointing at others, which is why I always follow the knuckle and not the nail
- ONTILLAS, ON THE FOLLY OF MEN

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A day with no noon,
A year with no fall,
Love is forever new,
Or love is not at all
- ANONYMOUS "ODE TO THE LOSS OF LOSSES"

11
The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TWP Chapter 12
« on: October 14, 2018, 03:39:06 pm »
Xinemus is approached by Therishut
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... a baron of dubious reputation from Conriya's frontier with High Ainon...
, who implies that scrolls about the Gnosis have been found in the Sareot Library, and that Saubon is likely to sell them.

This comes across very blatantly as a set up.  We also get some insight into the social implications of the caste structure. Xin criticises Therishut for consorting with the merchant-caste.  This is thrown straight back at him - he hangs out with a sorceror.

Xin tells Akka, who of course is off to the Library.  Esmi is not pleased
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"I don't understand", Esmenet said with than a little anger.
He's leaving me...

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"...It's a library.  A library!"
"So?", she said hotly.  "The illiterate are not-"
A suggestion that Esmi feels excluded as she can't read?  Later events will play on this.

She thinks Kellhus has asked for the Gnosis.

She suggests that the Gnosis is a temptation that Kellhus should resist.  Akka asks if she has considered the he might not be a prophet.

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"The question, Akka, is what do you think?"
Achamian looked to the ground between them.
"What do I think?" he repeated pensively.  He raised his eyes.
Esmenet said nothing, though she felt the hardness melt from her gaze.
Achamian shrugged and sighed.  "That the Three Seas couldn't be more unprepared for a Second Apocalypse... The Heron Spear is lost.  Sranc roam half the world, in numbers a hundred - a thousand! - times greater than in Seswatha's day.  And Men hold only a fraction of the Trinkets."  He stared at her, and it seemed his eyes had never been so bright. "Though the Gods have damned, damned us, I can't believe they would so abandon the world..."
"Kellhus," she whispered.
Achamian nodded.  "They've sent us more than a Harbinger... That's what I think, or hope - I don't know..."
"But sorcery, Akka..."
"Is blasphemy, I know.  But ask yourself, Esmi, why are sorcerors blasphemers?  And why is a prophet a prophet?"
Her eyes opened horror-wide.  "Because one sings the God's song," she replied, "and the other speaks the God's voice."
"Exactly," Achamian said.  "Is it blasphemy for a prophet to utter sorcery?"
Esmenet stood staring, dumbstruck.
For the God to sing His own song...

Are there other reasons he is leaving?  She wonders if he may have found a younger whore.  Insecurities again.

They argue about him being 'weak' and about her daughter.  She 'came before' Akka.  But
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..."the past is never dead, Esmi.   It's not even past."

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I'm not leaving you, Esmi," he said with a queer kind of finality.  "I could never leave you.  Not again."
"I see but one sleeping mat," she said.

Akka ponders damnation, and recalls his cellmate (and former lover) Sancla, reviewing the Tusk.
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..."Essentially Sejenus is saying, 'Give without expectation of reward, and you can expect a huge reward!'"...
..."So the Inrithi who expect to be exalted in the Outside..."
"Give nothing,"... "but we on the other hand... give everything, and we can expect only damnation as a result...

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So there was room to doubt his damnation.  Perhaps, as Sancla had suggested, the damned were in fact the elect.  Or perhaps, as Achamian was more inclined to believe, the uncertain were the Chosen Ones.  He'd often thought the temptation to assume, to sham certainty, was the most narcotic and destructive of all temptations.  To do good without the certainty was to do good without expectation... Perhaps doubt itself was the key.
But then of course the question could never be answered.  If genuine doubt was in fact the condition of conditions, then only those ignorant of the answer could be redeemed.  To ponder the question of damnation, it had always seemed, was itself a kind of damnation.

Kellhus could be an answer.  Salvation is a real possibility, but what is Achamian prepared to sacrifice.

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Though you lose you soul, the Mandate catechism began, you shall win the world.
But it need not be!  Achamian knew that now!  Finally he could see how desolate, how bereft of hope, his prior life had been.  Esmenet had taught him how to love.  And Kellhus, Anasurimbor Kellhus, had taught him how to hope.
And he would seize them, love and hope.  He would seize them, and he would hold them fast.
  Oh dear - it ain't going to end well.  Poor Akka.

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Never - never! in the history of their School had a sorceror of rank betrayed the Gnosis.  Only the Gnosis had allowed the Mandate to survive.  Only the Gnosis had allowed them to carry Seswatha's war through the millennia.  Lose it, and they became no more than a Minor School.  His brothers, Achamian knew, would fight themselves to extinction to prevent that from happening.  They would hunt both of them without relenting, and they would kill them if they could. They would not listen to reasons... And the name Drusas Achamian, would become a curse in the dark halls of Atyersus.
Butwhat was this other than greed or jealousy?  The Second Apocalypse was imminent. Hadn't the time come to arm all the Three Seas?  Hadn't Seswatha himself bid them share their arsenal before the shadow fell?
He had...
And wouldn't this make Achamian the most faithful of all Mandate Schoolmen?

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Glimpses of Kellhus, striding as a god across fields of war, laying low hosts of Sranc, striking dragons from the sky, closing with the resurrected No-God, with dread Mog-Pharau...
He's our saviour!  I know it
But what if Esmenet were right?  What if Achamian were merely the test?  Like old, evil Shikol in The Tractate, offering Inri Sejenus his thighbone sceptre, his army, his harem, everything save his crown, to stop preaching...

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Prophet and sorceror.  The Tusk called such men Shaman.
  So presumably there have been others?

He sees two little boys holding hands, and the a naked corpse hanging from a tree.

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Achamian wiped his tears on his shoulder. Something unimaginable was about to happen, something historians, philosophers, and theologians would argue for thousands of years - if years or anything else survived.  And the acts of Drusas Achamian would loom so very large.
He would simply give.  Without expectation.
His School.  His calling. His life...
The Gnosis would be his sacrifice.

He heads to the Library.  He recalls that the Fanim were about  to burn it, when by chance a map of Gedea rolled to the feet of the Padirajah.  The Library was spared, but
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... it might as well have ceased to exist under the Kianene.
  This suggests the non-intellectual nature of Fanimry - as per the Psukhe vs other sorcery.

He sees a mosaic of Sejenus with haloed hands.  Others have seen Kellhus with haloed hands - this implies that Kellhus may well be a prophet.

He finds nothing on the Gnosis, but does find other things of interest.
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A book was never "read".  Here, as elsewhere, language betrayed the true nature of the activity.  To say that a book was read was to make the same mistake as the gambler who crowed about winning as though he'd taken it by force of hand or resolve.  To toss the number-sticks was to seize a moment of helplessness, nothing more.  But to open a book was by far the more profound gamble.  To open a book was not only to seize a moment of helplessness, not only to relinquish a jealous handful of heartbeats to the unpredictable mark of another man's quill, it was to allow oneself to be written.  For what was a book if not a long consecutive surrender to the movements of another man's soul.
Achamian could think of no abandonment of self more profound.

Nice.  What does this tell us about scripture?

He sleeps and dreams of the dragon Skuthula. He is wakened by his wards - the Scarlet Spires, or the Consult?.  as Xinemus betrayed him? 
(The obvious inference is that Therishut was sent by the Spires - but could Kellhus be behind it - if so why?)

It is the Spires.  The Library burns, and so do they.
Akka is
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... a Mandate Schoolman, a Gnostic Sorceror-of-the-Rank, a War-Cant Master.  He was as a mask held before the sun...
...he was s Scion of Seswatha, a Disciple of Noshainrau the White. He was the slayer of Skafra, mightiest of the Wracu.  He had pitched his sing against the dread heights of Golgotterath.  He had stood proud and impenitent before Mog-Pharau himself...

A nice contrast between the Anagogis 'heads of ghostly dragons', and the Gnosis 'dazzling geometries, lines and parabolas'.

The floor collapses.  The Spires beat him down relentlessly. 
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Like angry smiths, they punished the anvil

12
The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TWP Chapter 11
« on: October 11, 2018, 08:22:01 pm »
The Holy War arrives in Shigek, at first peacefully, but soon this turns into massacre.

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Two weeks passed, the suddenly, as though some precise measure had been executed, the madness lifted.  In the end, only a fraction of the Shigeki population had been killed, but no traveller could pass more than an hour without crossing paths with the dead.  Instead of the humble boats of fishermen and traders, bloated corpses bobbed down the defiled waters of the Sempis and fanned out across the Meneanor Sea.
At long last, Shigek had been cleansed.

Kellhus meets Akka on top of a ziggurat.  He implies he is worried about Serwe being unfaithful.
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Of all the souls Kellhus had mastered, few had proven as useful as Serwe.  Lust and shame were ever the shortest paths to the hearts of world-born men.  Ever since he'd sent her to Achamian the sorceror had compensated for his half-remembered trespass in innumerable subtle ways.  The old Conriyan proverb was true: no friend was more generous than the one who has seduced your wife...

He probes Akka with questions and statements, all intended to lead him towards the desired destination.
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"So I'm your cause?" Kellhus said incredulously.  "I'm the Truth that justifies your fanaticism?"
Achamian could only stare in dread.  Plundering the man's expression, Kellhus watched the inferences splash and trickle through his soul, drawn of their own weight to a single, inexorable conclusion.
Everything... By his own admission, he must yield everything.
Even the Gnosis.
How powerful have you become, Father?

There's a bit too much 'tell' in some of the Kellhus POVs for my liking.  I'd rather be shown, I thin kit makes for better writing.

Martemus considers himself a practical man.  His approach to life is see, appraise, act.  Until he met Kellhus.  He attends one of Kellhus' sermons, and the words ring true to him.  He speaks with Kellhus, who has haloed hands.  Someone tries to stab Kellhus, but fails and is pummelled by 'the mobs'.

Conphas has gone to see Proyas.  He wants something to be done about Kellhus - to charge him with blasphemy.
Martemus believs Kellhus...
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But then, that was the problem.  Martemus wasn't a fool.  Conphas could scare imagine anyone less foolish... That was precisely the problem.

Proyas has been told by Kellhus that the man who tried to kill him was a Nansur officer.
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Conphas stared at the man blankly, realising he'd been duped.  All those questions... Proyas had asked them in order to implicate him, to see whether or not he had motive.  Conphas cursed himself for a fool.  Fanatic or not, Nersei Proyas was not a man to be underestimated.
This is becoming a nightmare.

Was the 'assassin' really Nansur, or is Kellhus up to his tricks?

Conphas then tells Martemus that the general will kill Kellhus.

13
The Almanac: PON Edition / ARC: TWP Chapter 12
« on: October 09, 2018, 06:57:39 pm »
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...the ends of the earth shall be wracked by the howls of the wicked, and the idols shall be cast down and shattered, stone against stone.  And the demons of the idolaters shall hold open their mouths, like starving lepers, for no man living answer their outrageous hunger.
- 16:4:22, THE WITNESS OF FANE

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Though you lose you soul, you shall win the world
- MANDATE CATECHISM

14
The Almanac: PON Edition / ARC: TWP Chapter 11
« on: October 09, 2018, 06:53:48 pm »
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If all human events possess purpose, then all human deeds possess purpose.  And yet when men vie with men, the purpose of no man comes to fruition: the result always falls somewhere in between.  The purpose of deeds, then, cannot derive from the purposes of men, because all vie with all men.  This means the deeds of men must be willed by something other than men.  From this it follows that we are all slaves.
Who then is our Master?
- MEMGOWA, THE BOOK OF DIVINE ACTS

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What is practicality but one moment betrayed for the next?
- TRIAMIS I, JOURNALS AND DIALOGUES

15
The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TWP Chapter 9
« on: October 07, 2018, 07:33:24 pm »
Kellhus tells Akka he can see the Mark.  Akka wants him to prove it.  Serwe remembers sleeping with Akka, but seems to thin it was Kellhus - the Gods move as men.

Akka gets his Wathi Doll out.  It has a soul trapped in it.  With the right words one of the few can awaken the doll.
Kellhus of course wakes the doll.
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... something moved from within...
...Serwe understood it was a soul, a self-moving soul...
Interesting choice of words. 

Very weird.  Why is the Wathi Doll a 'self-moving soul' - the supposed endpoint of the Dunyain project?

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How does one learn innocence?  How does one teach ignorance?  For to be them is to know them not.  And yet they are the immovable point from the compass of life swings, the measure of all crime and compassion, the rule of all wisdom and folly.  They are the Absolute
- ANONYMOUS, THE IMPROMPTA

Can a self-moving soul be ignorant? or innocent?  If these are the point from which life swings, can a soul actually be self-moving?  Yet another pointer towards the inadequacies of the Dunyain philosophy.

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